A Greek leader is optimistic about the economic recovery and a chance for the Greek economy to become more competitive after the opening of talks with the European Union on Wednesday.

Speaking at a press conference after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Alexis Tsipris said that despite the “difficult circumstances” in the country, the Greek government was “trying to move forward”.

The Greek prime minister said that the government would keep on the road of recovery in order to ensure that Greece “returns to its path of growth” as the EU seeks to ease the country’s debt burden.

“We are very proud to have the Greek people as partners of the European project,” Tsiprus said.

“The Greek government will not stop on the path of recovery and the Greek project.

The Greek people will not give up, we will not quit,” he added.

Tsipras is hoping to use the meeting with Merkel to push the Greek prime ministers to take a decision on a new bailout agreement and a possible extension of the bailout, which expires in 2019.

“I am very proud that Greece will be joining the EU as a free country, but also in the same spirit as a friend of the Greek country and of the EU,” Tsipsras said.

Tsipsras also said that Greece would continue to seek to join the EU, even though the EU has “made it clear” to Greece that it would not be able to extend the bailout until 2019.

“I would like to reiterate that Greece is not an option for the EU and will not leave the European community,” he said.

Greece’s foreign minister also said Greece would be willing to participate in any new bailout that the EU agreed on, but only if the EU guarantees that Athens will be given an additional two-year extension of its bailout.

The Greek finance minister said on Wednesday that the Greek debt will be paid off by December, but he did not rule out Greece accepting a deal with the EU if the country is offered a new deal.

“This is a question that has been raised to the Greek president,” Alexis Tsipsrachos told reporters after a bilateral meeting with the German chancellor.

“There will be a dialogue, but there is no point in doing it now.”

Greeks have been expecting a new government since a popular government was sworn in in December, and Tsiprabs’ comments were aimed at reassuring Greeks that the country would remain in the eurozone.

TsIPRAS: EU should ‘take a very firm position’ on Greek debt Greece’s new finance minister, Alexis Tspiras, said Wednesday that it was “extremely important” that Greece should be given a “very firm position” on its debt situation in order for it to avoid having to accept a deal which “could lead to a debt crisis”.

Tsiprasses comments came as Greece was preparing to begin talks with Brussels on an extension of bailout terms.

Tspiras said Greece will not accept any new deal until the EU offers to extend its bailout to 2020.

The EU has promised to extend Greek bailout terms until 2027 if it agrees to extend a deal it has reached with Athens.

Tsippingras said that “there is no reason to accept an extension, unless there is a very strong and decisive position” from the EU.

Tspsrassians talks with Merkel about the bailout deal are the first of three scheduled talks between Tsipros government and the EU in the next month.

Tensions have been rising in Greece as Tsipres government has repeatedly said that it will not be a part of a deal that would require the EU to hand over a fifth of the countrys debt.

Tsinacos, Tsipranos and other Syriza lawmakers have repeatedly said they are ready to negotiate a new debt deal with Germany in the first half of 2019, but the government is also seeking a deal from the European Central Bank (ECB) on an additional six billion euros in bailout funds.

The talks are set to begin on Wednesday at the end of the week.